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To the delight of all that is natural and wonderful, people lately have been taking up gardening, growing at least part of their own food and reinvigorating lawns with vegetables, fruits, flowers and all sorts. Not only does this equate to healthy, homegrown food in kitchens, but it also means less pressure for industrialized food production, in essence, saving forests from becoming carefully knitted rows easily harvestable mono-crops. Wow! Who knew a few fresh herbs on the windowsill could have such an impact.

Well, it can have an even larger impact with recycled materials. Look at it this way: You want to grow some veggies, head out to the nearest home gardening center and drop a few dimes on fancy planters. Now, you have fresh new pots just like everyone else, and new ones will be produced to insure future generations have them, too. Or…or…you could get funky personal and collect a bunch of garbage—old jars, plastic bottles, containers, pots and whatever else you can imagine—to fix up as little pieces of upcycled flare. Hopefully, you are thinking, Option B, please.

To say it with a little less rigmarole, it’s easy to make your own beautiful pots and planters from found objects, things just waiting to be reclaimed and reinvigorated with life. Ideas abound…

Plastic Bottles

Cool Planters from Recycled Materials
Peter Rowley/Flickr

Nothing enters the world of recycled planters so seamlessly as plastic bottles. They come in all manner of sizes. They are easy to cut and shape and can be used to make amazing hanging gardens and fun pot projects for the kids. However, due to BPA and other chemicals, these might be best for decorative plants.

I really dig hanging gardens. Here’s a very basic one that can be done a few times to make a y nice-looking arrangement. Strip all the labeling off the bottle. Cut an opening on the side, leaving a few inches at the bottom so that it can hold soil (your plant will grow out of the opening). Twist a bit of wire or string around the top of the bottle to suspend it. Plant, hang and repeat.

 Glass Bottles

Cool Planters from Recycled Materials
Wicker Paradise/Flickr

Glass bottles are a little more challenging to work with (cutting glass can be tough), but they make for a little more elegant planter, something that works well on the kitchen table or throughout the house. Plus, you can feel safer using them for food.

In my opinion, self-watering planters work perfectly for a little herb garden. All you do is cut a bottle in half. Having removed the cap, turn the top part upside down (spout facing towards the floor). Hang a piece of cloth through mouth while filling the upturned top of the bottle with soil. Set it into the bottom part of the bottle, replete with water, and voila! The wick will soak up the water, feeding the plants for days.

Tin Cans:

Cool Planters from Recycled Materials
John Herschell/Flickr

Well, it seems we are going through the entire recycling bin here and finding ways to reuse rather than recycle, which of course uses less energy and is fun. Tin cans come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, and they are easy to decorate, which makes for a perfectly simply collection of different pots in the corner of the patio or wherever. Even old crappy dinged up cans can look cool.

My favorite take is the post hugger pots. I’m into the whole hanging garden thing, and these are interesting way—one I’ve not seen as much of—to do it. Decorate the some large tin cans (if you don’t have them, ask a nearby restaurant and use theirs) however you like. Knock two holes, about two or three inches apart, with a nail and hammer close to the top rim of the can. Thread a wire, string or zip tie through those holes and fasten the can onto a post. Pow!

Old Tires:

Cool Planters from Recycled Materials
Tony Buser/Flickr

Old tires work great for garden planters. For the serious DIYer, they can be refigured into some amazing designs, including gardens out of stacked tires (love that vertical stuff), hanging planters, and garden swings (to hang out on while look at your planters). Or, they can simple be put on the ground, stuffed with some nice soil and filled with plants.

I’ve just seen this wicked frog planter. I love kooky stuff in the garden as it just provides such a instant smile. This one looks easy and fun. Spray paint three tires green. Put two side-by-side and stack the other on the middle of them. Atop that, put two smaller tires as the eyes. Add some facial features and plant inside the tires. It’d be great beside a garden pond.


Cool Planters from Recycled Materials
Kool Cats Photography/Flickr

Seriously, when it comes down to it, anything that’ll hold soil can be converted into a planter. Old pots from the kitchen, broken blenders, discarded laundry baskets, drawers from furniture, excess cinderblocks, cups, mugs, soup bowls—Come on! Stuff is everywhere, and an eclectic mix of planter pots is so much more interesting, personal and enjoyable than the same old stuff. Make life funky.

Lead Image Source: Stacie/Flickr